The Neurocognitive Burden of Severe Childhood Malaria and the Associated Socioeconomic Costs

Project Description

Funded through Boston University’s Ignition Award and Peter Paul Career Development Professorship, the CGHD’s Yesim Tozan is developing research on the neurocognitive burden of severe childhood malaria and the associated socioeconomic costs. If not treated, malaria can quickly become life-threatening by disrupting the blood supply to vital organs. In 2008, malaria caused nearly one million deaths, mostly among African children.

Dr. Tozan is working to develop a standardized “toolbox” for the deployment of a new anti-malarial drug, artesunate suppositories, for pre-referral treatment of severe childhood malaria in rural areas of Africa. With collaborator Melba Gomes of the World Health Organization’s Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, Dr. Tozan is standardizing the existing training and health-education materials for the introduction of artesunate suppositories into community-based treatment programs. They plan to test the packet in a remote area of Tanzania with a high incidence of malaria — with hopes that the tools can be adopted by countries and eventually incorporated into global drug-deployment strategies. The WHO has spent a decade developing and evaluating pre-referral artesunate treatment, which has been shown to slow the progression of severe malaria in children, buying time for patients to get to hospitals or clinics for definitive anti-malarial treatment.

Dr. Tozan and colleagues have recently completed a cost-effectiveness analysis of community-based pre-referral artesunate treatment of suspected severe malaria cases in rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, where access to health care is limited.

Project Details

Principal Investigator Yesim Tozan
  • Melba Gomes, World Health Organization’s Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases
Country(ies) Tanzania
Dates of Research 2009
  • Boston University